Saturday, January 27, 2007

Shadow dog

A couple of years ago we had to put down our beloved family dog Smoke due to the ravages of a disease. Smoke was a full breed Australian Cattle Dog a.k.a. Blue Heeler. It broke my wife's heart to part with him but he had been in pain for a long while and there was really no hope for him.

Soon after, we inherited a Labrador mix from my in-laws that was already about 2 years old. He had been a stray and a handful and continues to be.

This morning we went to one of the local outdoor malls for some family shopping and we came to a pet shop in which the Williamson County Humane Society was displaying several dogs and puppies for adoption. I was struck by what looked like a heeler mix with a unique face. One side black and the other an ash gray. I had to find the wife to show her this dog. I had been looking for a dog just for her and this dog seemed perfect. It had a very easy going temper and seemed good with the kids, obedient and best of all was only $50.

Well, I finally got the wife to see him and she loved him and so did the kids. We all then made a family decision to get the dog. In talking with one of the society volunteers, if the dogs didn't get adopted soon they would be euthanised due to lack of space at the shelter.

We ended up calling our new dog Shadow though I was partial to Oreo since that is what he reminds me of. The dog's original name was Two-Face like the villian from the Batman series. We really didn't care for the name regardless of the obvious reason for it.

Shadow is about one year old, already neutered and current on all his shots. Our other dog, Sargento, which at first wasn't too sure about him and tried to assert his dominance, growled a few times but I believe they will eventually be OK with each other.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Ice Storm

I've haven't been out of the house since Sunday thanks to a winter storm that has brought sleet, freezing rain, and some snow these past couple of days. Also, my work laptop I brought home with me appears to be having motherboard issues and no longer boots so I have not been able to do any work remotely.

Now, I am not saying all of that is a bad thing. I have spent time with the family and so far have tied about thirty hare's ear nymphs for brim and a half dozen damsel nymph flies for carp plus another half dozen craft fur minnow flies for bass.

I also spent some time reading a new site I came across for an Ontario guide by the name of Ian Colin James, better known as the "Carpfather". Very cool information regarding fly fishing for carp though he also fly fishes for smallmouth bass.

We spent some time outside crunching around the icy grass and watching huge snowflakes fall in the 28 degree weather. My son took his aluminum baseball bat and was breaking ice off all kinds of frozen things around the yard. He even punched through the one inch thick ice covering the dog's water dish (the dog has been inside with us all this time).

We found out that tommorrow is going to bring more of the same though maybe more snow. School is cancelled and apperently the kids are OK with this (not sure about my wife). I'll find out at 9pm tonight whether my work site will be closed again. It likely will.

Tomorrow I may work on some white bass flies to use when the weather starts warming up which in Texas means in a day or two.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

White bass seminar

This morning I went to my favorite local fly shop, Sportsmans Finest, in order to listen to a seminar given by a Texas guide by the name of Billy Trimble. The presentation was over how to improve catching white bass on the fly rod through tips and techniques and other information provided by Billy.

The white bass run here in Texas, which is when the fish come out of the deep lakes to spawn in creeks and river, lasts from around Valentine's Day through about Easter. It's an excellent opportunity to catch lots of good fighting (and good eating) white bass during this time. I've gone after them strictly with fly tackle for the past couple of years with dismal results hence the need to go to this seminar.

While the presentation was only a hour long, it was packed with good information such as the advantages of using a sinking line allowing for lighter flies and keeping the fly on the bottom in the strike zone. Also, another important technique was to keep the rod tip as close to the river bottom in order to keep the fly and fly line down and in the strike zone. Another tip was using no more than a 3 foot leader, preferably of denser, thinner fluorocarbon of no less than 3X to keep the fly down as well. All excellent information that apperently I could've used years ago.

So, I look forward to trying some of Billy's proven ideas during this year's run. It seems that Sportsman's Finest will be doing almost weekly free seminars on different subjects such as "Understanding Sinking Lines", "Blue Water fly fishing", etc. from here through April so there will be more opportunity to gain more knowledge this spring. Very cool.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Exploring new sections of the San Gabriel

Sunday afternoon I had about two hours before sunset to explore a section of the San Gabriel river at the low water bridge at CR100 and Highway 29 a.k.a Mankin's Crossing. I've always gone upriver with much success and the paddling and wading is always great.

This time, I decided to explore the area downriver from the crossing. The first 150 to 200 yards were pretty much done walking as the water is basically too low in spots to paddle. What I did not like about the wade and also sections later is that the limestone riverbed has far too many gulleys or channels cut into it that make walking very difficult.

Eventually, I got to some sections that I could paddle but within short distance would come up to either some riffles or rapids which forced me to dismount. This repeated a few times. While this section of the river has some pretty areas, locating fish was difficult due to the water being a little muddy from recent rains though I have no doubt there are fish in there.

I eventually ended about a mile downstream where there was a decent waterfall leading to a narrow tree lined section then down to another waterfall where I stopped and started making the trek back.

I believe that even though it may take a while, the whole trek could have been made wading since the deepest sections I came across were no deeper than about 3 or 4 feet with most sections being less than 2 feet deep.

I think I'll stick to the large pools and flats found upstream.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Fishing before a front

Supposedly tomorrow will have high temperatures in the 50s with winds between 20 and 30 mph. That will be a big change from today's clear skies, calm winds and 73 degree weather. So, I went to my favorite local pond an hour and half before dusk to see if the brim were biting.

Shortly after arriving it looked as if there was a hatch occurring. Not a big one but I could see the brim sipping bugs in the calm, clear water. I tied on a size 14 stimulator and proceeded to catch about a dozen brim within the hour. The fish were cold to the touch though they fought well regardless. I expect the water temperature was somewhere around 58 degrees.

This was a nice way to wrap up a hectic work week.

If the weather warms back up on Sunday, I might head to the San Gabriel to do some exploring given we had a couple of inches of rain earlier in the week and so it should be flowing nicely.

Monday, January 01, 2007

First fish of the New Year

Vacation time had to end unfortunetly. I do have a desk job that I need to return to tomorrow. Today I just took it easy and had one hour to fish the local park pond.

The skies were clear and blue and the temperature cool (around 54 degrees) with light winds. This time of year the pond get cold and clear. When I got there I saw several brim milling around the edge of the shore under a large ash tree.

I caught the first fish on a size 10 black gurgler. I had more luck with sub surface flies moved very slowly through the water. The takes were very subtle.

I think I caught about 8 redbreast sunfish and greenies in the one hour I was there. A good way to start the new year and freshen and relax the mind before starting work tomorrow.